Tag Archives: game

Funding Outrun – Devlog 3

Making games is awesome, but keeping your projects funded and in the black is just as important as having fun. Today I’ll look at some of the ways we’re funding Outrun. I’ll also look at sourcing and creating cheap assets.

Outrun is a solo table-top RPG I’m developing as part of the A Game by its Cover game jam, happening through August. It’s inspired by the Rushing Drive Famicom cartridge cover by Philip Summers (on Instagram).  I’ll be posting updates twice a week, right here, so stick around and see the game come to life.

Status Report, Scottie

A load of playtesting’s done and written up, so the core mechanics are in. Next, I’ll be focusing on additional mechanics and fluff. The bones are there and just need fleshing out.

Games assets got some love over the weekend, so let’s take a look at those.

Art Makes a Game

Great art draws you into a game. It’s also the one aspect of game design that hobbyists frequently get wrong, not through bad art, but through poor design.

Design is about unity and the thoughtful application of elements within the product. I’m starting to get technical, but my point is that, by applying design principles, you can turn a collection of assets into one unified whole.

I’m always scouring the Internet for useful assets, so I already have a library to pull from. For the rest, I make whatever I need or find an artist.

For Outrun, I’ve done 12 different page backgrounds. Here are two of my favorites so far.

Retro & Lazerpunk Boarder Samples
Retro & Lazerpunk Border Samples

I’ll be offering these page boarders off Drive Thru RPG, as a way of funding Outrun.

Page Background Set - Funding Outrun
Page Background Set

Photos and Filler

The rest of the book will be filled with emotive photos that bring the world of Outrun to life, similar to what I did with How to Plan a Murder — one of my best layout jobs yet, IMHO.

I’ll create my own design elements to fill in the gaps. I spent a lot of time researching the look and feel I want for outrun, so now it’s just a matter of making everything. Yay, Photoshop!

And the Cover?

My beautiful wife will bring her design talent to Outrun’s logo and cover, but you’ll have to wait and see. There’s a chance that the cover will be heavily inspired by Philip Summers’ design, below, but adapted to an RPG book format.

Wouldn’t it be awesome, though, if the PDF was formatted to look like a TV screen running a Famicom game? I think buyers might want to fling their keyboards at me for that one, but I like interesting ideas.

Rushing Drive, by Phillip Summers - Funding Outrun
Rushing Drive, by Philip Summers

No Tip Jar Here, Friend

If you like what you’ve seen please consider checking out our other RPG products. If you like something in our catalog, the team and I will always appreciate making a sale, and the money keeps us going.

Check out our Products

By the way, we’ve got a 30% Off sale on all our Pathfinder Roleplaying Game compatible products, starting tomorrow, in celebration of the Pathfinder 2 Playtest that just kicked off.

Join the Conversation

I’m sharing our progress here, but the conversation is happening at our dedicated progress thread at itch.io. Come along and say hi, or leave a comment here. Comments are moderated, so your comment won’t go up until a mod has had a chance to approve it (we get a LOT of spam).


Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

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Santa’s Spy—Holiday Games

Here’s a little game I play at home over the December holidays. I call it…

Santa’s Spy

Santa has a man on the inside, and it’s your job to coordinate his mission. A day or so after your Christmas tree goes up, he’ll deploy in the field, and just before it’s time to clean away the decorations, he’ll return to base with his valuable intel.

“They’ll never spot me behind these giant balls!”
Photo credit: TJ Holowaychuk

The Operative

I use a 12 inch action figure or, for smaller trees, plastic ninjas, like those plastic army men.


One night, just after your tree goes up, and while the rest of the house is asleep, sneak over to the tree and hide your operative inside. The goal is for him to remain unseen, so hide him well.
And don’t tell anyone he’s there, because that would be like M saying, “hey everyone, James Bond is a spy.”


You win the game if you safely extract the operative before all the decorations get packed away and no one has spotted him.


“Daddy, daddy, there’s a ninja in the tree!” Sorry bud, you lose.


Up the difficulty by hiding your operatives gear inside Christmas tree decorations. Do this some time after deployment and be sure to remove it when you extract your operative.

Have fun.

Do you have any games you play over the holidays? Let us know in the comments below.

Dawn of the Pig

I’m excited. I’ve been working on something I think you might like. Step a little closer.

As you know, Rising Phoenix Games publishes roleplaying games, such as Claustrophobia and a bunch of stuff for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. I’m also deeply passionate about mobile and browser gaming, and that’s what this post is about.


I’ve been cooking up something bacon flavored, and today you get a sneak peek.

Rocket Pig is our crispy arcade shooter, where you take on chomper-chopper sheep as you try to escape the farm. And you have lasers!


"To a bacon flavored infinity and beyond!"

Leave a comment and let me know what you think. If you like it, share it with your friends, because the more people play, the more love I can put into making Rocket Pig even better.

Be A Star Player – 10 Ideas to Improve Your Game

There’s plenty of information out there to help aspiring Game Masters (GM’s), but not quite as much for players. Most resources are players’ handbooks, which generally deal with the rules of the game and how to play, not always how to be the best player you can be. The wonderful thing about role-playing games is that it’s an ongoing learning experience as well as a group effort. So, without further ado, here are my 10 Tips for being a better player, in no particular order.


1 – Play

To quote Michaelangelo in the latest Ninja Turtles movie: “Learn by doing dude.” You’ll learn more about the rules, the game and what it means to be a player when you’re actually at the table throwing dice. And if you can’t play with friends, you can always try out a solo adventure like our own Sentinels Watching. Most games that have boxed sets also include solo missions that are specifically good for new players but may leave veterans frustrated with the lack of options. Failing all that, online games are becoming increasingly popular, such as Dungeons and Dragons Online and even Heroes of Neverwinter on Facebook. These games give you some idea of how the game works and an insight into the mechanics, but I still think rolling dice with friends is the best way to learn.


2 – Read Them Rules

It sounds obvious, but read the rules. It’s easy to get by without actually studying the rules, but this generally slows down the game and puts added pressure on the GM. I’d recommend focusing on the introduction, character generation and combat sections in general. Some books follow quite a different format (such as the Mouse Guard Roleplaying Game), but will recommend chapters for players. Read them. It’s not necessary to know the rules off by heart, but having a general idea of where everything is, will speed up the game. Also, get yourself your own copy of the rules to have on hand for easy reference during the game. Most rulebooks are available in PDF format from places like Drive Thru RPG, making them much cheaper and easier to use on small devices like net books and iPads.


3 – Read

Reading the rules is important, but that’s not all you should be reading. There are tons of resources out there, from advanced players’ guides to online forums and blogs like this one. Also, reading stories set in a similar genre to what you’re playing can really spark the imagination and give you some great ideas for where you want to take your character. My current character, a duellist, had me scouring Wikipedia and the net in general for more information on “the gentlemen’s game”, which had some interesting results, including finding rules for duelling that intricately detail the amount of blood required to pay back various levels of insult.

A word of warning though, especially for younger players, there are plenty of sites you don’t want to visit because the information on them is worthless and unhelpful. I generally start with Wikipedia if I’m doing my research on the web and work out from there, using the “See Also” and “External Links” sections.


4 – Be Prepared

Having your character, dice and miniatures ready is always a good idea. I keep a folder of character sheets that goes to each game and I make sure I update my character as soon as possible when he levels up. A good way to level up is to find a character editor that works for you and use that, along with the rule book. For Pathfinder I use Erian_7’s Excel sheet, which is pretty complex but very useful.

Keeping notes from past sessions is also a great idea. It helps you to get back into the game quickly and ensures you don’t miss any of those important hints the GM keeps dropping.

Lastly, bookmark any spells, special abilities or sections in the rules you’ll need to look up during the game. It will make it look like you read the rules and give you street cred with experienced players.


5 – Play Your Character

I think it was Steven King who said that characters write themselves, you just record what they do. It’s the same with role-playing. Eventually your character will walk into trouble while in your head you’re screaming “No, don’t go down there, it’s a trap!” And do you know what? That will be okay. My duellist character has a knack for shooting his mouth off, while I’m usually reserved and often prefer to take a back seat. The key really is to just play the character as you envision him, which makes for some great role-playing and a great game in general.

Talking in character is a very useful way to get into and stay in character, and most GM’s I’ve played with tend to give awards to those who use a different voice from their own. My wife recently played a half orc that had everyone in stitches because of the voice she used, which not only added to the game but made her believable as a hulking male half orc barbarian.


6 – Be A Team Player

This is a general tip, but remember that role-playing is a team game, be prepared to work with everyone and you’ll be a star player in no time.


7 – See The World – Imagination

A while back I posted about imagination gaming, so I won’t say too much here except that, in role-playing, you need to try and see the scene in your mind’s eye. I find the more I imagine the scene, the more I get lost in the game and the more I enjoy it. The simplest way to do this is to ask questions about the five senses: “What do I see? What do I hear?” and so on.

8 – Run Some Games

Walking a few miles in the GM’s shoes is a great way to be a better player, because you understand what it’s like to run a game and can sympathise with the GM when things get busy at the table.


9 – Help The GM

Helping the GM goes a long way to keeping things running smoothly. Filling a cup, offering snacks and even tracking initiative order all help the GM focus on telling the story. You might even get bonus XP for your troubles, who knows.


10 – Help New Players

Helping newer players is a good way to improve your own knowledge of the game and, again, to keep things flowing. Finding rules for them is a great way to get more familiar with the rules yourself and lets you learn about characters you’ve never played before. It also gives you something to do while other players are busy with the GM.



Ultimately, the goal of being a better player is to be someone who people want to play with – someone who covers their side of the game in an entertaining and fun way without being “that guy” who makes things unpleasant. If you keep working at it, your game will improve, which will lead to more fun for all and more table time for you. It’s a roll you can’t critically fumble.

Sentinels Watching – Old Friends and New Bruises


 Pathfinder Compatability Logo


Compatibility with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game requires the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game from Paizo Publishing, LLC. See http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG for more information on the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Paizo Publishing, LLC does not guarantee compatibility, and does not endorse this product.

Pathfinder is a registered trademark of Paizo Publishing, LLC, and the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatibility Logo are trademarks of Paizo Publishing, LLC, and are used under the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatibility License. See http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/compatibility for more information on the compatibility license.

Pathfinder and associated marks and logos are trademarks of Paizo Publishing, LLC, and are used under license. See paizo.com/pathfinderRPG for more information on the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

This content produced in terms of the Open Game License, a copy of which is available here.

Some map textures thanks to Wikidepia and May Ang.


Let’s Play

Sentinels Watching is a mini solo campaign using the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game for a level one (1) character. Everything is provided here so you can jump straight in, or, if you want to run this game for a player, there’s enough here to get you started.

Welcome to the first of a four part mini solo campaign series. That’s right, instead of just talking about role-playing, we’re going to jump in and play. All you need is the usual dice, pencil and paper and a copy of the Pathfinder® Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook™ and Pathfinder® Roleplaying Game Bestiary™. Learn more about the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game at paizo.com. Grid paper, map tiles and miniatures will all be useful, and I’m throwing in an A4 grid map from the upcoming PDF release of this adventure that you can print out for the main encounter location.


How to Play

For the most part, this solo campaign uses the rules printed in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core rulebook, with some additional mechanics to allow for the fact that there’s no GM. These extra rules provide a level of abstraction that should make solo play more fun.  Since there is no GM, you need to judge difficult situations that may arise. If in doubt, check the rules, make a choice, but have fun.

Additional rules are given in each weekly post.


Scene 1 – The Pewter Tankard Tavern


Your story begins in a busy tavern on the outskirts of South Fort, a popular trading town. The Pewter Tankard is a popular haunt for merchants, travellers and locals keen on hearing stories from faraway lands. The Pewter Tankard sits at the end of a dark alley behind a run-down smithy and a general store, squashed up against the defensive wall that runs around the main part of town. The tavern itself is warm and friendly, with a bustle of customers – most weather stained and rough – but generally easy going and affable.


You’ve come in answer to a letter from a good friend of yours, Rotham, who is a member of the Blue Capes, the City Guard of South Fort.


Rothams Letter
View Rotham’s Letter.

Rotham isn’t around, so you have a few options while you wait.

  1. You can talk to various bar patrons.
  2. You can have a meal or a drink.
  3. You can listen to the banter.


You have enough time to do any and all of the above. Choose what you want to do then check your results below:

  1. Make a Diplomacy check. Read the entries below for all the numbers that are equal to or below your result.
    10: Regulars of the bar know Rotham and they have no idea where he is. They seem reluctant to talk about his profession.
    14: It seems Rotham has been missing for several days.
    18: There are rumours, and this is mentioned in hushed tones, that he was on an important case, and it had led him to the sewers.
    20: You manage to convince the regulars that you’re Rotham’s friend, and a friend of Rotham is a friend of the Tankard. You get a free beer and a +1 to attack rolls and tests in the Tankard while you are on friendly terms with everyone.
  2. The menu is simple, but the offerings are of the best quality.
    Beer                   6 cp                              Pub Stew            3 sp
    Whiskey           2 sp                              Fresh Bread      2 cp
  3. The general banter of the room revolves around the unseasonably warm autumn weather, a merchant caravan that was attacked by bandits earlier in the day, and the beer – a new batch that Erland Prewland, the bar keep, brewed himself.

Drinking Rules:
For every drink you have after the first, make a Fortitude save of DC10, with a cumulative -1 for every additional drink after that. If you fail, you take a -2 penalty on attack rolls, saving throws, and skill checks. Failure by more than 5 leaves you unconscious for D4 hours (in which case you can skip right to the next chapter.)

You’re still waiting for Rotham when an overly “refreshed” man starts trying to pick a fight with you. He’s not listening to reason, and making ridiculous comments about your mother. You can try talk him down (Diplomacy DC 10), in which case, his inevitable first punch does half damage. On the other hand, you can try ignoring him, although he’s not ignoring you. The last resort is just to punch him first. Fight him with your fists or improvised weapons. Download and print the map below for this encounter. Drawing a weapon or using magic will mean you’ll have to deal with the town guard, D3 +1 guards arriving in 5 rounds from when you act in such a way. After the first two rounds of combat a man dressed in rags that smell of damp sewers and smoke enters the Tankard. He jumps right into the melee and you must pass a DC 12 Perception check to realize it’s actually your friend Rotham (which you can make each round). While Rotham doesn’t swing blows at you, after you attack him he will use his Combat Expertise feat each round, giving him a +1 to AC and -1 to hit. You must split your attacks between the two until you realize your error. The crowd is loud and you cannot hear Rothams shouts to you in the heat of the brawl. See the “Unarmed Combat” and “Non-lethal Damage” sections in the “Combat” chapter of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.


The Pewter Tankard
Download the full A4 map.

If either you or the brawler is knocked out, make a record of everyone’s status and check back here next week for chapter 2.



Morton Horthax

Human Bar Brawler, Commoner, Chaotic Neutral

STR    15 (+2)            CON     12 (+1)            WIS      10 (+0)

DEX    11 (+0)            INT       9 (-1)             CHA      8 (-1)

CMD: 12    CMB: +2    BAB: +0
Punch (Melee): +2 to hit, 1d3 +2 non-lethal damage.

AC: 11                                    HP: 7
Fort: +1                     Ref: +0                        Will: +0

Skills: Profession (Mason): 2


Weapon Proficiency: Unarmed Strike
Catch Off-Guard (Morton uses this feat if  his life is in danger.)

Inventory: Morton has 3 gold pieces, a pouch of cheap tobacco and artisans clothing.



Human Guardsman, Fighter 1, Lawful Neutral.

STR      14 (+2)                        CON     13 (+1)                        WIS      13 (+1)

DEX      12 (+1)                        INT       16 (+3)                       CHA      12 (+1)

Punch (Melee): +3 to hit, 1d3+2 non-lethal damage.
Long sword (Melee): +3 to hit, 1d8+2 (19-20/x2)

AC: 15                                    HP: 11
Fort: +2                     Ref: +0                        Will: +0

Climb 6, Handle Animal 5, Knowledge (Engineering) 7, Ride 5, Survival 5 and Swim 6.


Combat Expertise
Improved Disarm
Combat Reflexes

Inventory: Long sword, blue cape of rank, manacles and a Potion of Cure Light Wounds.


The quest isn’t over just yet. Continue the fight for justice in Chapter 2. For more information on Avernos, the setting of Sentinels Watching, head over here. I’m indebted to the help I’ve gained from users on www.rpg.net, especially wraithform, AlCook and Kredoc who all contributed in some way to this adventure series, thanks guys!